Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed Senate Bill 841 to improve the flexibility of local governments, non-profits, and the business community in meeting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Major provisions of the bill include:
1. Allows local governments (counties, townships, municipalities, boroughs, authorities, and school districts, etc.) to conduct remote public meetings.
-Specifically, this means that each member of the governing body participating electronically has the means to communicate with the public and their fellow members in real time.
-Also, to the extent practicable, the entity should post advance notice of the meeting on its website, or in a newspaper of general circulation, or both.
-Draft minutes of any public meeting called without public notice to address an issue relating to COVID-19 must be posted within 20 days or before the next regularly scheduled meeting, whichever is earlier.
2. Provides property tax relief by allowing taxing districts to waive late fees and penalties for property taxes paid by December 31, 2020.
3. Allows school districts to renegotiate contracts with service providers to ensure payment of personnel and fixed costs during the school closure.
4. Allows remote notarization of documents.
5. Reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and requires it to study the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and health systems. The panel will be responsible for preparing a report on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care facilities, including expenses and lost revenue during the crisis to determine additional financial assistance.
6. Extends the deadlines for businesses to make payments under the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program until the end of the business tax year.
Note this summary is not intended to be a substitution for reading Senate Bill 841 in its entirety.